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A Refined Dessert and Wine Bar Is Setting Up Shop in Little Italy This Summer

With a pâtissier from Hoogan & Beaufort, it will focus on a variety of elegant sweet treats, paired with wines and more. 

A lemon-jalapeno dessert from Ratafia

A new Art Déco-inspired gastronomic dessert and wine bar will open in early July in Little Italy.

Ratafia, named for the mistelle-style fortified dessert wine from the Champagne region, will open in the former location of Italian restaurant Epoca at 6778 St Laurent (near Dante). Local architecture firm Lovasi is overhauling the space (see also: restaurants Mélisse and Jiao in Old Montreal). It will feature an interactive central island where chef patissier Valentin Rouyé will be plating his creations; the space seats 69 inside with twenty more on a street-side terrasse.

Rouyé was trained as a pastry chef by his father — he was most recently at Hoogan & Beaufort and a former colleague of prominent pastry chef Patrice Demers at former downtown restaurant Newtown. He calls the restaurant’s offerings desserts gentiment arrosés, or gently imbibed desserts. The aim is to create an elegant, festive, and convivial space, with a full wine list for pairings, including dessert wines, sakes, sparkling wines, and local beer.

The menu will be split into three parts: Classics, for more traditional desserts, artfully plated, and remaining on the menu year-round; Ephemera, for desserts inspired by the seasons (think sophisticated pâte au chou with special fillings); and Les Trous, or trou Normand-adjacent palate cleansers: granitas with liqueurs. Ratafia will complement those sweet offerings with a plat des amis, charcuterie plates put together in collaboration with the chef-owners of St-Hubert Street’s Épicerie Conserva (who are also Hoogan & Beaufort alumni), as well as Mile End’s Falafel Yoni.

Ratafia is headed up by co-owners Sandra Forcier and Jared Tuck, both ITHQ graduates active in the Montreal restaurant scene for the past 15 years. They’re focused on creating a space that will be “elegant, festive, and convivial”, promising exceptional desserts for those celebrating occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.

Ratafia will be open for late afternoon desserts and drinks until the early hours of the morning. “We want our customers to be comfortable at Ratafia,” says Forcier, “and to sweeten their life with food and drink.”

Ratafia was briefly open as a pop-up over Grand Prix weekend — it’s currently scheduled to start serving on a permanent basis sometime during the first two weeks of July.


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